Friday, August 28, 2009

Rachel Alexandra - Do people really still doubt her?

Horse Racing Pundits – Are there any out there that still doubt the extreme talents of the Super Filly, Rachel Alexandra. After going 7 for 7 in 2009 and winning those races by over 60 combined lengths, beating the colts twice quite convincingly, and setting track records, I have to be of the opinion of the trainer of Summer Bird, Tim Ice gave his opinion about those few detractors that she still has when he said: "I ask you, what do you want her to beat?" Ice said. "What does she have to prove? She's beaten everybody that they've put in the race with her, so to say that she hasn't beaten anything would be a knock against thoroughbred racing because she's beaten the Kentucky Derby winner (and) she's beaten the Belmont winner.
"People don't understand. If they're going to say she hasn't beaten anything, these are all horses that are Grade 1 winners. And to say she hasn't beaten anything, to me, it makes no sense.
"Rachel Alexandra is what she is - she does it so easy, that maybe it just seems like she hasn't beaten anything, but the horses that she's beaten are top-notch horses. I think it's a shame that people have that idea that she hasn't beaten anything."
In some ways you can look at many of the detractors that are left and realize that they have a bad taste in their mouths about how Jess Jackson handles his horses. When I hear the criticism that Mr. Jackson gets, like how he should announce where Rachel will run sooner, or she should run in certain races, I think that he might have opened that can of worms upon himself due to his website, as you remember when he was trying to choose Curlin’s next race after his loss in the Man O’ War he asked the public where they thought Curlin should go. Sadly in this world of ignorance, you can’t leave decisions of this nature to a public who collectively struggles to understand the fundamentals of horse racing.
Then you have those that are or seem very jealous of her accomplishments due to the comparisons she draws to Ruffian and Personal Ensign, and the other greats, some people seem to get their feelings hurt due to comparisons to such historic fillies and mares. It’s sad though that she gets run down by these ones, they say she hasn’t beaten the same company that Ruffian and others beat, but really who did they beat, races were run differently back then and there is no way to compare the competition.
On the other hand though when dealing with the comparisons that are drawn between Rachel and Zenyatta there is ample evidence that one horses’ connections is looking for the most difficult spots that will allow for greatness to be defined and the others is looking for the easiest spot to make sure that the horse stays undefeated. But what does undefeated really mean when there is lower quality or competition in the gates. I wonder out loud sometimes what Zenyatta’s record would be if she ran prominently in the East Coast. It seems very feasible to think that if she ran in Grade 1 races predominantly she would most likely have a record of 12 start 9 wins 2 place and 1 show finish. That would be more respectable in consistent Grade 1 competition in comparison with an undefeated record in a few grade 1 and a number of grade 2 races that is not considered running at the top level of horse racing. I feel remorseful for those that feel that due to one person being a fan of Rachel they have to tear her down. Here is one of the most immature quotes I believe I have ever come across. This was posted on a message board: “some get so frakkin know-it-all arrogant, that I actually hope RA loses just so they will shut up. I don't like rooting against horses (esp. when they are obviously talented) but NO horse is perfect. ALL of them have limits, and they need to realize that. Pundits of all type will say what is on their minds. For ever article they post saying that RA is unbeatable, I could find one that said she's vulnerable facing older males. Just wake up and realize that she is a living creature in the hands of humans and that she has limitations, whether they want to admit it or not. “

Seems like a bitter very sad person who has no ability to love horse racing for what it is.
Here are some comments from other bloggers regarding the schedule that Zenyatta has run in: “And not to pick on Zenyatta, who I dearly love and greatly admire, but she has made three starts this year and all of them have been in California. C'mon!! Is she that fragile? Talk about picking spots carefully to keep a perfect record intact...yet that is not up for public debate because it's good management.”
“Anyone would question Zenyatta's greatness just because she never raced "outside of the box."
You must not follow this particular blog, because to date about 7,146,887 posters have done just that, and repeatedly! They say they regret that we will never know just how great Zenyatta might have been, because she just kept beating up on the same bunch of overmatched females again and again. Personally, I agree with them (though I love Zenyatta).
Judging from the postings of the knowledgeable racing fans on this blog, I'm concluding that many others also will question Zenyatta's greatness because of how her campaigns were handled, especially in 2009. In fact, I think it is likely to come up whenever her name is mentioned in the future.”
“Zenyatta is great, I won't deny her that. But she isn't better than Rachel is. NYRA has eliminated the detention barn for the Beldame. They are increasing the purse if Rachel & Zenyatta both show up. The Mosses have stated that the reason they won't go to Belmont is because of the detention barn. What reason will they come up with now that the detention barn is gone for why they won't come to the Beldame? Because really & truly, they are doing nothing more with Zenyatta than ducking Rachel. She has her 12 win streak because they have so carefully mapped her races into ones where there is NO competition for her and she is all but guaranteed a win. She barely pulled it off in her last race. Her jockey is so over confident that he will cause her to be beaten. Her final kick is good, but she is aging fast (she's 5 now) and that kick isn't going to be enough to come from 12 lengths from the leader in the Breeders’ Cup races. Her race performances are declining, while Rachel's are improving each time out. Rachel is better at 3 than Zenyatta was at 4 (which is why Zenyatta never faced the boys). At this point, in my opinion, there is no comparison between the two horses.”
This upcoming weekend is going to be very exciting as we’ll get to see the highly touted Quality Road go up against a number of quality colts. He has a lot that needs to be proven, others want to prove they belong, I believe that Warrior’s Reward and Summer Bird may take a step forward, the question is what type of race will Summer Bird run, I believe his run was compromised due to being so close to the lead last time out. I guess the race will unfold however it does.

1 comment:

Jimsjam33 said...

Rachel Alexandra has left little doubt that her name belongs amongest the best who ever played this game. In , my opinion , she may be the best of all time . I say " may " only because Zenyetta is undefeated and also can lay claim to being amongest the best ever.
Horseracing is not a statistics game , Please don't tell me numbers why RA is better than Zenyetta and visa versa. Please don't argue dirt vs. synthetics, vs. grass . A horse is a horse . That only means that if these two horses run in three venues we probably would have three different results. Is RA better on dirt ? maybe . Is Zenyetta the Queen on synthetics ? Maybe ..What about grass ? I would argue that there would be some very serious competition for that crown .
To make my point I would like to leave you with some examples of the way things were not suppose to go .
Dare and Go , a 40 to 1 shot beats Cigar and Jerry Baily to end a 16 race winning streak .
Lava Man , the greatest claimer in history , could not win outside California .
Silver Charm did not win the Triple Crown . Winning the first two legs and losing the third by an inch ?
Ruffian , the one filly who railbirds could actually argue was the best filly ever broke her leg on her final race day .
Remember Majestic Prince and Bill Shoemaker ? The greatest jockey of all time mis-judged the finish line and cost his mount the victory .
Anything can happen in horse racing on any given day . Rachel Alexandra is not exempt from a no nothing average horse freaking out ( Dare and Go ). That does not make her any less exciting or great. For her sake and the sake of horse racing fans around the world I pray the streak continues , but I must admit I would love to see the " Spectacular of the Century " Rachel Alexandra vs. Zenyetta .